Matchplay – Concessions and what if you disagree with your opponent?

Concessions do not apply in strokeplay – you (and your fellow competitors) must hole out at each hole to return a score for that hole.

In matchplay, a player may concede their opponent’s next stroke, a hole, or the match at any time.  Concessions must be clearly communicated and are final – they cannot be declined or withdrawn, so there is no issue if, for example, you miss a putt that has been conceded.  You can also agree to halve a hole, but only after at least one player has started play of that hole. 

There are a couple of things you specifically aren’t allowed to do:

  • agree to concede holes to each other to deliberately shorten a match
  • agree that all putts within a certain length (e.g. a putter grip) will be conceded (you may only concede the next stroke)

In strokeplay, if you are uncertain how to proceed under the rules you can play more than one ball (having declared which one you wish to count before playing any strokes after the uncertainty arose) and seek a committee decision after the round. You do not have this option in matchplay.

In matchplay you must decide how you want to proceed. If you follow your opponent’s advice then the result of the hole will stand. If you choose to follow your own decision you will need to seek a decision from the committee after the round. If you have proceed correctly under the rules then the result of the hole will stand. However, if you followed a procedure that was not allowable under the rules you will have lost the hole. This can lead to the strange situation of not knowing whether you are 1 up or 1 down playing the last hole!

In summary, when playing a match it is your responsibility to protect your own interests under the rules – if you do not know the rules (and the local rules), or have access to some help (I recommend the R&A Rules App) then you simply can’t do it!

4 thoughts on “Matchplay – Concessions and what if you disagree with your opponent?

    1. Hi Kym.
      No. Once a concession is made it cannot be declined or withdrawn. So if a hole or the match is conceded the result of that hole or match is finalised. If the next stroke is conceded then the hole has been completed as if that next stroke had been holed – any further play would be practice (which is not forbidden in match play, but should be done without undue delay).
      Kind regards


      1. Going into the last hole of match play I hit a perfect drive down the middle. My opponent claimed I was tee’d up on front of the marker but the tee had flown away and we couldn’t verify if I was in front or not. His vantage was behind me so difficult to tell, I am convinced though not certain I was not in front of the marker as I am very meticulous about where I tee up. We disagreed with no conclusive way to tell who was right, what’s the result?


      2. Why didn’t he stop you before you made the stroke? With no conclusive way to determine I would give you the benefit of the doubt if I was called to that situation as a referee. (NB If any of the ball is inside the teeing area then the ball is within the teeing area – you only need the thickness of the paint on the ball to be OK!)


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